Oral Answers to Questions — American Troops (Colour Discrimination)

– in the House of Commons on 29th September 1942.

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Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that an unfortunate result of the presence here of American Forces has been the introduction in some parts of Britain of discrimination against negro troops; and whether he will make friendly representations to the American military authorities asking them to instruct their men that the colour bar is not a custom of this country and that its non-observance by British troops or civilians should be regarded with equanimity?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

The Question is certainly unfortunate. I am hopeful that without any action on my part the points of view of all concerned will be mutually understood and respected.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this matter has already been aired to some extent, and, therefore, it seems wiser to air it properly and to handle this very serious problem firmly and constructively than to pretend it does not exist?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Minister of Information, in an article in one of the newspapers, has expressed himself very definitely on this subject and is apparently opposed to any colour discrimination?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

This is not on the point of merits, but on the point of representations being made by me.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have received a letter, a copy of which I have sent to him, from a number of serving men informing me that an officer has given them a lecture advising them on the necessity for discrimination in connection with negroes who are in London?